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Fetcho: hardest decision of my life

  • Justin Fetcho resigned in early October after six years as SIU head men's golf coach. The Eldorado native says he wants to spend more time with his family, while pursuing a new career.

    Justin Fetcho resigned in early October after six years as SIU head men's golf coach. The Eldorado native says he wants to spend more time with his family, while pursuing a new career.

By Spyder Dann
updated: 10/30/2020 8:40 AM

How do you know when it's time to step away?
In all walks of life, whether its in a relationship or work, the thought usually makes it's way to the forefront of everyone's mind.
For Justin Fetcho, that conversation is one he has been having for as long as four years now. The corona virus just happened to hit fast forward and the Eldorado native made what he called "the hardest decision of his life" on October 7th when he resigned as the SIU men's golf coach.
Fetcho, who is in both the Eldorado and John A. Logan Hall Of Fame has spent the better part of his adult hood in the game of he loved the most, is now pursuing something else he loves, interacting with the community.
Fetcho, in an exclusive interview with the Harrisburg Register, confirmed he has accepted a position as a Business Development Officer at Legence Bank.
The draw for Fetcho will be his involvement in the community and help lend support for financial needs, whether on the personal or commercial side.
He considers it a win-win in regards to his new job and his employer.
"Much like my time as head coach at Southern, where I wanted them to be proud of the job I did. I want to be that same person for Legence Bank. I'm excited to go work for them and this is a good opportunity to still be involved in the community, which I love dearly."
This will be no different than my time at SIU where I promoted our team in the community and had fundraisers and different things where I can go and be in front of people that supported us. I know Legence Bank likes to help out and be involved in the community and that's what resonates with me."
On a deeper, more personal level, Fetcho also is a family man first. He grew up, involved in athletics and now as a father of two boys, a 4-year-old and a 3 1/2 month old, missing out on those experiences was something he wasn't willing to give up.
"My parents were involved in everything I did growing up," Fetcho said. "I was a big fan of that and I want my two kids to be a fan of me because I was involved in their lives. They may not be playing baseball, basketball, or any type of athletics right now, but there will come a time. I don't want to miss out on that and I knew being a coach forever would make it hard.
"I'm not saying I couldn't balance it and there are other coaches out there who do a wonderful job of walking that line and sacrificing, but I also knew that if the right opportunity presented itself, it was something I needed to look at."
With the challenges that the corona virus has presented in the last eight months, it was the perfect storm for Fetcho.
He also admits its been an emotional rollercoaster, however, the conversations at SIU about the possibility of cutting programs (the men's golf program being one) and the new policies to how fundraising money couldn't be spent to go above and beyond for the student-athletes
was something strong enough for him to consider stepping aside.
Fetcho left after six seasons as head coach at SIU, the most successful coach in the program's history, with two conference championships and three NCAA Regional appearances.
In the realm of minor sports, the SIU men's golf program shined the brightest light on the university and Fetcho, who spent his adult hood giving to the game he loved so much, felt like the time to step aside was now.
"I've never wanted to let anyone down, personally or professionally," he said. "I didn't want to be the head of the program that let people down. It's been a hard thing to go through that process. I've had a lot of conversations with my wife, Amanda about our plans and our future and coming to this decision was not something that happened overnight. It was a very long and detailed process about what I wanted to do and it wasn't easy. Still, to this day, the hardest thing was to walk away, but I feel like myself and my family will be better off because of it."

• Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.